(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- Ember Choral Arts, formerly known as Schola Cantorum on Hudson, founded in 1995 by Artistic Director Dr. Deborah Simpkin King, announces their 2021-2022 concert series entitled “Can We Talk?” Ember’s programming revolves around its mission to extend the role of music beyond that of its own intrinsic value, leveraging it to bring visibility and expansive thinking to issues of human significance. In this age of extreme ideological polarization, Ember will seek to highlight core human values upon which some agreement can be found, even within the volatile contexts of gun violence; diversity; and human-generated impact on health.
Subscriptions are available for purchase online. Subscribers can choose either a New Jersey or New York subscription package and each subscriber will receive one concert for free with their subscription purchase. Subscribers will also be invited to exclusive events throughout the season. Memberships are also available for just $25. “Ember Members” have the opportunity to attend post-concert receptions and meet the artists. Membership information is available here.
“Can We Talk?” will be a series of three concerts aiming to inspire and help smooth a pathway for mutually respectful conversation specifically between individuals and groups that find themselves at odds regarding approach to difficult issues. Series performances will take place in New York at St. John’s in the Village, 218 West 11th Street, New York, NY and in New Jersey at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 217 Prospect Street, South Orange, NJ.
. . . about Our Children - November 13 at 7:00pm (NYC); November 14 at 5:00pm (New Jersey). Parents falling anywhere in the full political/ideological spectrum love their children. On that we all come together! The tragedies of school shootings - Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary only being some of the most widely covered – strikes a fiercely protective chord in the hearts of all of us. From that common point of departure, can we talk?
. . . about Our Friends - March 5 at 7:00pm (NYC); March 6 at 5:00pm (New Jersey). If perhaps without the drama of a Capulet and Montague romance, we’ve all cared deeply enough for someone unlike us to make our differences less important than our friendship. ‘Diversity and inclusion’ may be our current political handles; but, to the extent that we can each think of someone we love who is different from us, can we talk?
. . . about Our Homes - May 21at 7:00pm (NYC); May 22 at 5:00pm (New Jersey). They are our personal ‘castles,’ are they not? - and then we discover the truth about lead in paint, about asbestos in insulation, about DDT in pesticides . . . and make changes to protect the health of ourselves and our families! Ember is proud to have commissioned two selections that make very clear the importance of listening expansively to the voice of our planet, through its natural cycles, as well as through human interaction with those cycles.
“The beauty of Ember’s singing will carry, this season, a message of the importance of open-minded communication, even with – especially with! – those holding different points of view,” remarked Deborah Simpkin King, Ember’s Founding Artistic Director. “The music is stunning and emotionally impactful! And I am particularly excited about the double-premiere concert in May, featuring significant commissions from composers Robert Paterson and Eric Banks!”
In addition to the “Can We Talk?” series, Ember will perform a special holiday concert at Church of Immaculate Conception in Montclair, NJ on Saturday, December 18 at 7:00pm and at Saint John the Divine in New York City on Sunday, December 19 at 6:00pm. Subscribers will receive free admission into these concerts.
Ember has been asked to present the world premiere performance of the new oratorio, VOICES, by internationally acclaimed composer Michael Shapiro. Ember Choral Arts is currently seeking sponsorships to produce this world premiere before its European premiere by the BBC of Wales in November of 2023. In it, Shapiro immerses his audience in the concentration camp environment through poetry written by those who would be otherwise stilled by evil and tyranny, serving as both a remembrance and a warning. Those interested in sponsorship opportunities can learn more, and inquire here.
Fundamental to Ember’s core values is the belief that music has a unique power to affect the human heart and soul, inviting each of us to become fully aware, mindful individuals. It is part of Ember’s mission to extend the role of art beyond that of its own intrinsic value, leveraging it to bring visibility and expansive thinking to issues of human significance. The areas of social significance selected for full-season thematic exploration are supported by targeted outreach and podcast promotion.
Ember singers include a high percentage of active professional musicians, young emerging professionals, and experienced avocational musicians. Solo technique is supported Ember’s approach to tone. Singers come from an exceptionally wide geographical radius from both sides of the Hudson River.
“Ember Choral Arts has been an industry leader in safe singing during the current pandemic,” said Karen Gonon, Executive Director. “Ember has a 100% vaccination rate of both singers and staff. At the start of the pandemic, Ember created a Sing-Safe-Mask, still used by the ensemble today. The health and safety of our singers and audience is of great importance to Ember Choral Arts.
Ember Education has opened enrollment for students of any age to study with one of Ember’s professional teaching artists. Ember Choral Arts has created an automated booking system where students and teachers can schedule lessons, communicate and make payments all in one place.
Since 1995, Ember Choral Arts has grown in depth and influence. It performs its full season in both Manhattan and New Jersey, and enjoys international recognition particularly for its work in advocacy of new choral music. PROJECT : ENCORE, one Ember Choral Arts mission-driven programs is an ever-growing, curated, cloud-based catalogue and programming resource for conductors and a marketing arm for contemporary composers.
Ember Choral Arts (formerly known as Schola Cantorum on Hudson), a not-for-profit arts organization under the direction of Dr. Deborah Simpkin King (Founding Artistic Director) and Karen Gonon (Executive Director) is made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Investors Foundation.